Album Review: Collarbones - Die Young

4 March 2013 | 4:22 pm | Dylan Stewart

Die Young is not an album for every situation, but it comes close. And it’s totally worth the effort.

If there was ever an album that took its place firmly at the centre of a genre, Die Young is not it. Walking the convoluted line between electronica, hip hop, dubstep, glitch and pop, Collarbones forge their own path on this, their second album. The physical barrier between the two collaborators, Marcus Whale (Sydney) and Travis Cook (Adelaide) is not the only one that is broken down, with the pair astutely observing the genres they refer to, then smashing them down almost deliberately.

The result is a difficult, yet ultimately rewarding record. It does not make for easy listening, yet in the vein of Shabazz Palaces, Gold Panda or Oscar + Martin it proves its point effectively. Missing draws on the R&B vocal techniques of Justin Timberlake and Whale's lyrics evoke bitter heartbreak. Short of resulting in a straight-to-FM Radio pop song, the production that layers both under and over the vocals are alienating. It would be gutsy programming for any mainstream radio producer to touch Collarbones, which, you get the feeling, would be totally fine with them.

It's a theme that's repeated many times across Die Young; vocals being used as simply another element of the song, to be immersed among the beats and electronic instrumentation. Despite this, it would be a mistake to discount the lyrics as such. Adolescent confusion, love and dreamscapes are all explored, but to fully recognise the poetry of lines like “I can feel your bones moving/When you say 'I will no longer'/Teenager flushed red” (Red), a deeper investigation and dissection of the album's liner notes need to be done.

Die Young is not an album for every situation, but it comes close. And it's totally worth the effort.

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